A former Minister for Works and Housing, Collins Dauda, has denied reports in the media that he recently travelled to South Africa using his Ghana Card and not his passport.
Collins Dauda, who is the Member of Parliament for Asutifi South, made news headlines after the judge in his ongoing trial in the Saglemi Housing case was left astounded by how he managed to travel out of Ghana because he did not have the permission of the court to travel and his passports were supposed to be in the custody of the court’s registry as part of his bail conditions.
Some media outlets reported that the former works and housing minister travelled out of the country using his GhanaCard.
But, Dauda, through his lawyers has flatly rejected the claim that he travelled to South Africa using his Ghana Card.
“He (the MP) did not travel with a Ghana card but with his passport which has since been handed over to the registrar at the courts,” his lawyers told GhanaWeb.
The lawyers shared a copy of a letter addressed to the court’s registry which showed that the passport had been handed over.
It was stated in the document that the passports were returned on Tuesday, November 28, 2023, after an order by the court.
“I, Abu Amadu, a Law Clerk at Sory @ Law have this 28th day of November 2023 returned 2 Passports belonging to Collins Dauda to the Registrar of this Honourable Court as ordered by this Honourable Court. Counting on your cooperation,” part of the letter reads.
About the Dauda’s travel to South Africa without permission:
The former minister, who is facing prosecution together with three other persons, for financial loss to the state and other related offences in the construction of the Saglemi Housing Project, needed the permission of the court and the release of his passport to travel outside the jurisdiction.
According to a news report in the November 21, 2023 edition of the Daily Guide newspaper, the High Court justice presiding over Collins Dauda’s trial, Justice Ernest Owusu-Dapaa, was shocked as to how the Member of Parliament for Asutifi was able to travel outside Ghana without his passport which was in the custody of the court.
The report indicated that the judge got to know that the MP had travelled to South Africa, when his lawyer, Thaddeus Sory, was explaining why he (Dauda) was absent from proceedings on Monday, November 20, 2023.
Lawyer Sory told the court that his client had an emergency invitation to attend a pan-African conference in South Africa as part of his parliamentary duties and would be absent from Monday, November 20 to Friday, November 24, 2023.
He explained that he had started the process to get Collins Dauda’s passport from the court but arrangements had already been made for him to travel before the hearing of the application, which was filed on Friday, November 17, 2023.
The state prosecute, Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa, was as surprised as the judge as to how the accused whose passport was supposed to be with the court’s registry was able to travel without the passport.
Obuobisa, the director of Public Prosecutions at the Office of the Attorney General, indicated that Dauda’s action was worrying because it was part of his bail conditions that he must notify the court before he travels outside the jurisdiction.
Meanwhile, the state finally opened its case against the former housing minister and his three co-accused after deferring for several months due to the absence of its witnesses.
The prosecution called its first witness in the person of Rev. Stephen Yaw Osei, acting Chief Director of the Ministry of Works and Housing.
The chief director’s witness statement was adopted by the court despite objections by the defence lawyers. The case was adjourned to Tuesday, November 21, 2023, for the witness to read his statement.
Two former Ministers of Works and Housing, Alhaji Collins Dauda and Kweku Agyeman Mensah, and three others, have been arraigned in court over the Saglemi Affordable Housing infractions.
The five were charged on August 5, 2021, with 52 counts, including causing financial loss to the state.
They are facing charges of intentionally misapplying public property, causing financial loss to the state, and issuing false certificates in the Saglemi Affordable Housing Project, which involved the sum of $200 million.
Alhaji Collins Dauda, together with Kweku Agyeman Mensah, Alhaji Ziblim Yakubu, Chief Director of the Ministry, Andrew Clocanas, Executive Chairman of Constructura OAS Ghana Limited, and Nouvi Tetteh Angelo, have pleaded not guilty to all 52 charges.
While Alhaji Collins Dauda was admitted to self-recognizance bail, Kweku Agyeman Mensah and Alhaji Ziblim Yakubu were granted bail in the sums of $65 million each. In addition, they were to produce three sureties, one of whom should be a public officer.
Andrew Clocanas, the fourth accused person, was also admitted to bail in the sum of $179 million with three sureties, one of whom should be a public servant. Nouvi Tetteh Angelo, the fifth accused person, was admitted to bail in the amount of $13 million with three sureties.